High vigor disease resistant-apples, help me pick


So I’ve seen a lot of threads on disease resistant apples, but none of them are really answer my question regarding vigor.

I want to plant maybe half a dozen disease resistant apples, but I also want to future proof my selection to be optimal for any grafting done in the future.

I was reading several grafting manuals and books, some related to apples some not. Many made the point that grafting a strong variety on a weak variety results in suboptimal or uneven growth.

You can usually graft most varieties of one particular kind of fruit interchangeably. But, because some varieties grow faster than others, placing a strong variety on a weak variety often results in considerable overgrowth. Delicious apple on Jonathan and sweet cherries on Montmorency sour cherry are examples. Such Combinations can stimulate earlier production, as with sweet cherries on Montmorency, but may cause structural weakness.

With apples, certain combinations appear to be better than others. Delicious grafted onto several varieties, such as Ben Davis, Arkansas Black, or Red Astrachan, grow almost as though no topworking has been done. But in certain other combinations, growth is sub-normal and unsatisfactory. Delicious on Winesap is an example, and in some locations, Van cherry on Mahaleb.

source - Synder, John S. Grafting Fruit Trees. Washington State University. 1965

It seems there’s enough information here and there about a lot of the established varieties, but does anyone of experience with the newer disease resistant varieties?

I was thinking of picking a few of the following, but would like to know their vigor relative to one another. Does anyone grow multiple disease resistant apple cultivars that can make the comparison?

The list of released disease resistant apples is long, but I know that Freedom, Liberty, and Empire often turn up in any thread discussing resistance. I’m mostly looking for apples probably closer to a macintosh flavor with scab resistance; fire blight would be a nice plus. I saw Novamac is a “newer” release, but I haven’t seen much written about it.

References to disease resistant apples
table by perdue
table by ontario dept agri.
table by portland nursery
table by Montana SU
table by UWisc

perdue chart




orangepippintrees has a useful catalogue search function for this kind of thing. Here’s what I got when I searched for varieties with good disease resistance, very good scab resistance, and greater than average vigor.

Crimson Topaz (classed as “slightly large”)
Enterprise (“vigorous”)
Florina (“vigorous”)
Freedom (“slightly large”)
Liberty (“vigorous”)
Suntan (“very vigorous”)
Williams’ Pride (“slightly large”)
Wolf River (“vigorous”)

And here are results from their UK site, in case you’re interested in a few more names:

These are, of course, commercial nursery sites, so keep that in mind, but orange pippin is a respectable reference.

Hope this is helpful!